Microsoft has announced a $300M dollar ad campaign, featuring 90s TV star Jerry Seinfeld, which according to multiple reports has been designed to save Vista and salvage Microsoft's battered reputation. There is so much wrong with this strategy, it's really hard to know where to start.

First of all, the problem is not just one of perception. A PR blitz suggests that Microsoft has produced a dazzling product in Vista, but the foolish masses have failed to grasp how good it is. All it will take is a funny ad and we all be lining up to get Vista. It's simply not going to work because the problem is that Vista is a flawed product and everyone realizes that.

That they chose a 90s TV star (one who Slashdot points out always had a Mac in his TV show apartment) only proves how myopic this company truly is. If they want to update the company's image, especially with young people, they might not want to choose a spokesperson whose TV show went off the air 10 years ago. Like Microsoft, Seinfeld's popularity peaked some time during the Clinton administration.

Not only that, the ad campaign is in reaction to Apple's highly successful "Get a Mac" campaign, which apparently really pissed off Bill Gates, who thought it was misleading. A commercial that's a defensive reaction to a successful campaign is behind the eight ball from the get-go and is doomed to be compared to its predecessor. Microsoft has rarely been known for its originality, and this is the perfect opportunity to produce something new and exciting, but once again they are chasing Apple. It's a bit pathetic.

Finally, the ad agency that Microsoft chose Crispin Porter + Bosky, is famous for those Burger King commercials with the cardboard looking king, which to me, weren't such dazzling ads, I would give them $300M to save my company.

If Microsoft really wanted to improve its reputation, they might try throwing that $300M at improving Vista and letting the market decides what it likes and doesn't like. Instead, it makes a lame attempt to save its reputation through PR and ad campaigns and paper over a weak product.

About the Author

I am a Freelance Technology Journalist, blogger, FierceContentManagement editor and Contributing Editor at EContent Magazine. I have been writing about technology since 1988 and publishing credits include InsideCRM,, Streaming Media Magazine, eWeek, BusinessWeek SmallBiz and Network World. I have also written White Papers, documentation and training for a variety of corporate clients, big and small. I co-founded [url][/url] in 2009 and contributes regularly to its content. You can learn more by visiting my blog, by Ron Miller at [URL][/url].

I won an Apex Award for Publications Excellence in Feature Writing in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

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Hi Ron: Good post. I couldn't agree more. Microsoft's reaction to the (really funny, and I believe effective) Apple ads indicates that the ads must contain more than a 'kernel' of truth. And since Apple still has such a small percentage of the market, the move makes Microsoft look even more pathetic.

To begin to compete with Apple, Microsoft should emulate its bottom-up approach to OS improvement rather than piling the same tired old kernel with loads of useless eye candy and "features" (bloat).

A better marketing strategy for Microsoft might be to release a series of ads similar to Apple's pitting Vista against Linux, which it could more easily compete with. Because the Apple-Microsoft debate is over- the Mac OS X is in an entirely different galaxy.

I agree with the content, and I *love* the headline! Jerry Seinfeld is not going to convince me to go back to Windows, that's for sure.

vmanes 1,165

Remember, "Seinfeld" was a show about "nothing".